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Zev and Earl Sande become racing greats

July 20, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

*NOTE: Richard Maturi will be autographing copies of his book at the Western Montana Fair Race Meet on opening day, August 8.
“We are fortunate Mr. Maturi can attend out race meet,” Said Toni Hinton, race manager for WMF. “He has held book signings at the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico in Baltimore, and other major track

While all the world follows Barbaro’s fate after his injury in the Preakness, his story brings to mind another great horse that also suffered an injury in the Preakness and made a dramatic comeback.

In 1923, Rancocas Stable’s Zev injures his leg in the Preakness and cannot finish the race. (The Preakness was run before the Derby in 1923.) Zev is nursed back to health and wins the Kentucky Derby and Belmont.

Without the Preakness injury, Zev would have been the second Triple Crown Winner in U.S. horseracing. Under the guidance of supreme jockey Earl Sande, Zev went on to win the 1923 international match race against the English Champion Papyrus with Steve Donoghue up. In 1923, Zev won 39 major stakes races and broke Man O’War’s money winning record with earnings of $272,000.

Sande earned $569,000 in 1923, a record that stood for 20 years.

All of this and more is in Richard Maturi’s book, “Triple Crown Winner: The Earl Sande Saga.” Check out the book website at

Climb aboard for a terrific ride. Triple Crown Winner: The Earl Sande Saga is filled with adventure, love, tragedy, and triumph.

The characters would make a Hollywood casting director envious. Meet Burr Scott, who entices Earl to quit school and join the racing game; Arizona’s Doc Pardee, who rode the rodeo circuit with Tom Mix and tutors Sande on the fine points of riding to win; Commander Ross, a Canadian war hero, who invades the American racing world and captures the first Triple Crown and ranks as the leading horse racing owner; Harry Sinclair, owner of Sinclair Oil and the famed Rancocas Stables; sportswriter Damon Runyon, who immortalizes Sande in many poems, noted trainers Sam Hildreth and “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons, Sande friend Will Rogers, and many more interesting characters.

South Dakotan jockey Earl Sande’s accomplishments include:
--World record six consecutive victories in one day
--Dramatic comeback after doctors said he’d never ride again
--The second American Triple Crown, on Gallant Fox
--Lifetime percentage of 26.4% winning mounts
--Lifetime percentage of 60.9% in-the-money mounts
--5 Belmont Stakes
--3 Kentucky Derbys
--1 Preakness
--5 Jockey Club Gold Cups
--4 Withers Stakes
--3 Lawrence Realizations
--3 Suburban Handicaps
--3 Dwyer Stakes
--Hall of Fame inductee with first class
--Winner of 1923 International Match Race aboard Zev vs Papyrus
--Winner of thirty-nine stakes races in 1923, a record that stood for thirty years
--Top Money-Winning Jockey 1921, 1923, 1927
--Top Money-Winning Jockey Record that stood for twenty years
--Riding noted mounts Billy Kelly, Bracadale, Chance Play, Chance Shot,
Crusader, Flying Ebony, Gallant Fox, Grey Lag, Kai-Sang, Mad Hatter, Mad Play,
Man O’ War, Milkmaid, My Own, Osmond, Sarazen, Sir Barton, and Zev.